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Sustainability Transitions

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Alastair Iles, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA
[email protected]

(Visit the CALL FOR PAPERS on the Elementa blog, or view the new Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability Transitions in China Call for Papers.)

Elementa's Sustainability Transitions domain welcomes contributions that advance knowledge on shifting society-environment interactions to sustainability - to a world in which human beings and other life flourish in diverse social and environmental contexts. Transitions to sustainability entail changes in people's interactions with each other and with the environment at local to global scales. Societies have insufficient knowledge of changes that can effectively promote sustainability transitions, and of the causal mechanisms involved. Navigating these transitions involves different sectors of society, ways of knowing, research approaches, and forms of creative expression. Therefore, a primary purpose of this domain is to bridge boundaries among disciplines, geographies, cultures, and institutions, and between scholars and practitioners. We encourage submissions from scholars in the social and natural sciences and humanities, and practitioners, innovators, and leaders who are forging ahead with strategies to shift towards sustainability.

We welcome contributions that develop innovative approaches in concepts, theory, methods or analysis and have deep or broad implications to inform transitions to sustainability, and that use observational, experimental or theory-driven modes of inquiry. Contributions may focus primarily on concepts, models and hypotheses, on empirical approaches, or both. To meet the boundary-bridging goal of this domain, submissions to Sustainability Transitions should clearly, specifically and logically present the larger context of the work, both in framing the question or opportunity addressed, and in discussing implications of findings. Articles must be written in clear and direct language, with a minimum of technical, specialist terminology and without sacrificing rigor.

Sustainability Transitions has no disciplinary constraints on articles. Contributions may be grounded primarily in a single discipline in the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, professional fields, or the arts; may involve an interdisciplinary field or collaboration; or may be problem-oriented investigations or experiences that do not stem directly from a particular discipline. In keeping with this disciplinary and methodological pluralism, the peer-review process will be attentive to the appropriateness of different epistemologies, methodologies, and ways of writing for different submissions.

Finally, we welcome submissions on a broad range of topics, as long as each contribution clearly advances knowledge on a transition to sustainability. Non-exclusive examples include: defining and evaluating goals of sustainability transitions, such as improving adaptive capacity of socio-ecological systems and fulfilling requirements of human well-being; research on specific systems of focus for sustainability transitions (e.g., coupled natural-human systems, systems producing food, energy, and other materials, systems of values and ethics); studies on analogs for sustainability transitions which might come from human history or nature; research on specific sectors of society where transitions occur (e.g., government, business, civil society, education, economies); studies on actors, agents and stakeholders in sustainability transitions (e.g., on voice, power or networks in promoting or resisting transitions); examination of creative expression, learning, knowledge or innovation involved in sustainability transitions; research on socio-environmental dynamics of transitions to sustainability (e.g., adaptive cycles, feedbacks, regime shifts, resistance, cooperation); forecasting transitions to sustainability (e.g., development and use of models, scenarios, or visioning processes); research on assessing transitions to sustainability, from methodologies (e.g., life cycle analysis, integrated assessment, metrics, big data analytics) to impacts of assessments on policy, business and other arenas of action; and studies on scales involved in transitions to sustainability (e.g. spatial and temporal scales, cross-scale processes, inter-generational issues).

Sustainability Transitions accepts Research Articles, Reviews, Policy Bridge Articles, Practice Bridge Articles, Comments and Reply Articles, and submissions for Special Features. Authors are also invited to submit their work as cross-domain Articles, publishing in multiple domains and reaching a wider group of researchers. Sustainability Transitions will also publish Forums focusing on a specific opportunity for or challenge to a sustainability transition and led by guest editors. Forums start with invited articles intended to frame the topic, and then open for broad submission. All articles will undergo the same peer-review process.

Associate Editors

Selena Ahmed
Associate Professor, Sustainable Food Systems
Agroecology and Ethnobotany Group, The Food and Health Lab
Department of Health and Human Development
Montana State University, Bozeman, MT
Research website 

Marina Alberti
Professor, Urban Design and Planning
Adjunct Professor, Landscape Architecture
Director, Urban Ecology Lab
Director, Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Urban Design and Planning
University of Washington, WA, USA

Manisha Anantharaman
Associate Professor, Justice Community and Leadership
Saint Mary's College of California, CA, USA

Flor Avelino
Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development
Utrecht University, NL

Susan Baker
Professor, Cardiff University School of Social Sciences
Sustainable Places Research Institute, UK

Mark Borsuk
Associate Professor, Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Duke University, NC, USA

Michael E. Chang
Deputy Director, Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems
Georgia Institute of Technology, GA, USA

Kevin Dooley
Professor, Department of Supply Chain Management, W.P. Carey School of Business
Senior Sustainability Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
Chief Scientist, The Sustainability Consortium
Arizona State University, AZ, USA

Peter Frumhoff
Director of Science & Policy
Chief Scientist, Climate Campaign
Union of Concerned Scientists, USA

Andrew J. Hoffman
Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise
Stephen M. Ross School of Business
School for Environment and Sustainability
The University of Michigan, MI, USA

Garrick Louis
Associate Professor
Engineering Systems & Environment, University of Virginia, VA, USA

V. Ernesto Méndez
Associate Professor of Agroecology & Environmental Studies Agroecology and Rural Livelihoods Group (ARLG) University of Vermont, USA

Maywa Montenegro
Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies Department
Social Sciences Division
University of California, Santa Cruz, CA, USA

Paulo Moutinho
Executive Director and Senior Scientist, Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia (IPAM), Brazil

Dustin Mulvaney
Associate Professor
Environmental Studies Department
San José State University, San José, CA, USA

Laura A. Ogden 
Associate Professor
Department of Anthropology
Dartmouth, NH, USA

Christian J. Peters
Associate Professor
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
Tufts University, MA, USA

Yuwei Shi
Academic Director of Blue Pioneers Accelerator Program
Visiting Professor, Coastal Science and Policy Program
University of California, Santa Cruz, CA , USA

Jennie C. Stephens
Dean’s Professor of Sustainability Science & Policy
School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs
Northeastern University, MA, USA

Elizabeth Wilson
Director, Arthur Irving Institute on Energy and Society &
Professor of Environmental Studies
Hanover, NH, USA


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